SIMPLY SHARKS: There will never come a day, in terms of creative pop culture offerings, when a shark is not colorfully combined with something that is not a shark and made into a movie or book or comics property. Tornadoes? Ghosts? Octopuses? They've all been sharkified in recent years, on the small screen, and the big screen has seen its share of menacing baddies who want nothing more than to chomp around the shallows of our holiday beaches, sending vacationers running. But sharks tend to not do most of the things Hollywood says they do, spoiler alert, and yet what they do do, on a daily basis, is so very fascinating and study-worthy that a whole weekend devoted to sharkdom, at one of the planet's premiere aquariums, seems like a no-brainer. Actually, make that a big-brainer, rather; sharks are smart, and we humans would do well to get to know them better, and de-clutter some of the myths and pop culture references that surround them. The Monterey Bay Aquarium will help us all with that, over the Saturday, Nov. 1 and Sunday, Nov. 2 weekend, which arrives with a rather memorable handle: Shark Days.
THAT'S SHARK DAYS, as in just sharks, not shark-seahorses or shark-dogs (you know those are in some movie pipeline somewhere). With aquarium admission you'll get to spy a "developing skate embryo" -- neat -- and you'll learn how the largest sharks at the aquarium, the ones that regularly elicit the wows and gasps from visitors, are cared for by staffers. Feedings, tagging talks, and chatting with a diver are all on the sharky schedule. While you'll admire sharks of many spots and stripes -- hello, bat rays and horn sharks -- you won't see a Great White, as they're not on exhibit. But the aquarium has housed a few in the past, and the conservation work done on the Great White's behalf by the Monterey Bay Aquarium is applause-worthy, for sure. Where's the thrilling movie about that topic. And, nope, creative minds of Tinseltown, we don't need the hero to be half-shark, half-human. We're okay with sharks being sharks in all of the interesting ways they are.